Sunday, July 14, 2013

OLD vs. NEW: Cactus Flower and Just Go With It

I don't see these two movies together very often, so I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but I'm not sure if a lot of people noticed that these have actually the exact same story. Actually, the first movie is also a play on Broadway, so perhaps that was a bigger influence. Main differences are that they both adhere to the time period in which they were made in, also the newest has a different premise. But let as compare them more in detail now:

In the first, our main character is Julian. He is a dentist who is afraid of commitment, so he tells his girlfriend that he is already married. The latter is a young girl named Toni, who decides to take her own life (in a very comedic way) if she cannot have Julian.
He, afraid of losing her, tells her more lies and swears to get divorced and marry her. Toni says that she can't just steal him and she wants to meet the wife. Julian asks his assistant Stephanie to step in and help out - but things just get out of hand. Stephanie is asked to go out with men, so Toni sees that her heart isn't broken over this divorce. Her actions only make Julian actually jealous, but in the meanwhile he realizes that he is too old for Toni. After deciding that he won't lie to her anymore - he tells her that Stephanie doesn't want a divorce anymore. Toni already knew the truth by then and the two break up. Julian recognizes his affection for Stephanie and the get together.

In the remake, our main character is Danny, a plastic surgeon in LA who uses a wedding ban to get one night stands. On a party, however, he meets a young girl named Palmer without the ring, but the latter discovers it in his pocket and asks him to explain. A disastrous marriage headed for divorce is the best excuse he comes up with.
The young girl, again, wishes to meet the wife. He asks the help of his assistant and friend Katherine - a single mother of two who already experienced the pain of a divorce. Danny buys dresses and make up for Katherine, to make her act the part of a horrible housewife, when she is called up by one of her kids and they have to tell Palmer that they have kids as well. The two kids manage to blackmail Danny into taking them on a trip to Hawaii - saying that he always promised and he is a horrible dad. Of course, just to show to Palmer that he isn't all that bad, he takes everyone onto a vacation. There, however, Katherine meets up with her arch nemesis and asks Danny to help her out too - showing off his fancy plastic surgeon husband. The two get so caught up in the play, that they get really close. Danny breaks it off with Palmer and gets together with Katherine.

Let us get this out of the way. I do not like fart and poop jokes, or barf jokes, or any awkward sexual jokes for that matter. For this simple reason many Adam Sandler movies just simply fall flat with me. I have the same problem with Ben Stiller: Both of them are clearly great actors; they have talent and creativity. But for some reason sometimes they agree to do these horrible movies that make absolutely no sense - and that are not even funny! For an Adam Sandler movie to be good I really need three things: good story, just one or none disgusting joke and definitely limited Rob Schneider action. This movie got all three right so I have no reason to hate it and that is all I wanted to say for the ones who don't watch it simply because Sandler is in it.

So, let us compare. The original is so close to my heart that I cannot say anything bad about it. And for that reason I judge any remake very harshly! Take also in consideration that I didn't think of this as a remake, more like a stand alone movie. But if I do compare, I would have to say that  I was not disappointed. I think that the changes that were made were indeed necessary if we want to change the time period. The plastic surgeon does make a lot of money, also I liked that the assistant wasn't a frigid antisocial being, but she was simply friend zoned and for that reason not considered compatible with our main character. Even if actually Stephanie's character traits gave way to plenty more comedic elements.
But it is not a problem, because Katherine wasn't meant to be the comic relief character. She is actually a very conscious mature mother figure - who has a problem with teaching her kids about lying and deceiving at such and early age. Her kids on the other hand are hilarious, and that is something that in the original play couldn't really be solved - working with kids is still hard. However, they are present in the original, because when Stephanie is spending her weekend with her nephews, Toni sees them by accident and only blames her more for trying to steal their father. In the end the ending is the same: Both heroes face is realizing that they are a lot older than the person they wished to be with and they should grow up and act their age.
There was one slight difference, which became evident script and casting-wise. In the new version the young girl, Palmer, doesn't nearly have as an important rule as in the original. I'm not saying they miscast her, no-no, she is fine, but she was given a lesser role. Adding the arch-nemesis storyline on Katherine's side and having her be a mother gives us an insight onto her life. While, in the first we only have as much as one can have during a play: Stories and acting. I think it was a great idea, but in the end this made us care less for the break up. In the original there is a young guy standing by to take Julian's place, so we don't feel bad about the break-up. Let us not forget that Goldie Hawn won an Oscar for this role and in comparison the new movie doesn't care so much for this character.

One is better than the other. You need to see both, trust me. The first is a classic - unlike most movies at that time, it isn't slow or anything like that. The new version on the other hand tries to give it a new spin and it works very well. The Hawaiian theme also makes it a great summer movie!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Julian - Walter Matthau
Stephanie - Ingrid Bergman
Toni - Goldie Hawn

Danny - Adam Sandler
Katherine - Jennifer Aniston
Palmer - Brooklyn Decker

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